Knowing when to see a hearing specialist can be difficult, mostly because it’s hard to know when you have a problem with your hearing. Some hearing problems are obvious, like if you develop tinnitus after being exposed to loud noises, but most of the time, you won’t know you have any hearing loss until you find yourself struggling to follow a conversation with other people. If you live by yourself, you might not notice that you regularly turn up your TV or radio to an unhealthy volume to hear them.
Get a Hearing Examination
If you think you have hearing loss, you should see a hearing specialist for an examination. If your hearing seems fine, you should still get a baseline hearing exam at least once in your adult life, preferably sometime after you turn 21. After that, you should get tested once every ten years until you turn 50. You should have a baseline hearing exam every three years after that. These baseline tests are intended to show your hearing compared to other people your age and how it may have changed since your previous test.
A hearing specialist can also give you a hearing screening to determine if you have any hearing loss. This can be part of a baseline exam or the first part of a more comprehensive process. Hearing screenings are given on a pass or fail basis. If you pass a hearing screening, you don’t have any hearing loss, and your hearing is normal for your age. If you fail, you most likely have some degrees of hearing loss and should undergo further tests. Babies are usually given a hearing screening at birth, and children are often tested periodically when they’re in school. Adults aren’t tested as often, which is part of the reason why hearing loss can go undetected for years.
Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. Approximately 30 percent of people over 65 have at least some hearing loss, as do about 14 percent of people between 44 and 64. Age is the greatest cause of hearing loss, but you could be at a greater risk of developing a hearing problem if you are regularly exposed to loud noises or experienced head trauma.
As a rule, you should make an appointment with a hearing specialist if you believe you have hearing loss to any degree. Contact us today for more information about finding a hearing specialist or if you have any additional questions about hearing loss.